According to Devi S. Nambudripad, D.C., L.Ac., R.N., Ph.D., "There is hardly any human disease or condition in which allergic factors are not involved. Any organ, group of organs, or portion of the body, may be involved and the allergic responses may show great variations." Between 30 to 40 million Americans are known to suffer from allergies of some sort, but Dr. Nambudripad estimates that an additional 50 million or more have hidden allergies they aren't aware of. "They may have other symptoms that keep them going from Health Coach to Health Coach, trying all sorts of different remedies without getting any relief, not realizing that the underlying cause of their condition is an allergic reaction," she says. Among the conditions she claims can be due to allergies are gastrointestinal disorders, migraine, hyperactivity, arthritis, asthma, anxiety, depression, backache, and chronic fatigue.
Nambudripad's comments may initially seem implausible, yet allergies have for many years been viewed by practitioners of holistic medicine as a potentially critical factor in the onset of a wide range of illnesses. Typically, treatments for allergy sufferers include drugs, the avoidance of all allergic triggers, and dietary changes (some of them very rigorous and lasting for months), along with immune-enhancing measures such as nutritional and herbal supplementation, homeopathy and acupuncture. But even when the treatments prove successful, patients usually have to diligently monitor and/or avoid their exposure to the known foods or environmental triggers that caused their illness in the first place. Such vigilance also tends to have to last throughout the rest of the patient's life.
Nambudripad claims to offer a more effective and permanent answer to this problem through a procedure she developed, called the Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET). According to her, NAET not only makes it easier to determine the various allergens that may be playing a hidden role in disease, it also allows patients to continue to use or be exposed to the implicated substances without further suffering. Having used NAET for nearly 20 years at her clinic in Buena Park, California, Nambudripad has treated thousands of patients. "I haven't had any failures so far," she says. In addition, she has trained thousands doctors from across the U.S. and Canada and around the world in the use of NAET, and continues to offer seminars to health professionals interested in learning her methods. Many who take her training practice NAET full time, while others combine it with their regular practice. About half of the practitioners are "medical doctors, traditional medical allergists and environmental specialists," with chiropractors and acupuncturists also showing strong interest. "We are open to all medically licensed doctors," Nambudripad says, "and once they receive my training they can administer NAET to their patients very efficiently."
Among the people who praise Nambudripad's work is Sandra Denton, M.D. of Anchorage, Alaska, herself a leading allergy specialist. In her foreword to Say Goodbye To Illness, one of three books authored by Nambudripad, Dr. Denton relates how NAET cured her of chronic fatigue syndrome and an attack of asthma that left her hospitalized. "As Dr. Devi began testing me . . . I was shocked to find that I was reacting to many vitamins and minerals ... and other essential nutrients of my every day diet," Denton writes. Nambudripad eliminated Denton's reactions to the nutrients and within nine days Denton was restored to health and able to return to work.
The Origins of NAET
Reviewing some of Nambudripad's case histories, one is quickly struck by how insidious allergies can be and how effective a treatment NAET potentially is. Among the health conditions Nambudripad has successfully treated using NAET are: anxiety, addictions, severe and chronic indigestion, back pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, asthma, genital yeast infection, hypoglycemia, chronic headache, kidney infection, impaired urination, nausea and chest pain. The range of potential allergens is quite vast, Nambudripad explains. "Almost anything can cause an allergic reaction. In my every day practice I see patients who are allergic to food, drinks, water, especially tap water, clothing, plants, chemicals, vitamins, vaccines, furniture, the cars they drive, plastics, metals, cosmetics, fingernail polish, even wedding rings." In each case, as soon as the offending substance was identified and NAET applied, the accompanying symptoms began to resolve themselves.
Perhaps the most dramatic example of the role allergies can play in compromising health lies with Nambudripad herself. "I was sick from the very beginning of my life," she relates. From early childhood, she suffered from multiple illnesses, including arthritis, bronchitis, sinusitis, migraine headache, chronic exhaustion, insomnia and eczema. "I had to live on a special diet that my parents oversaw, and that's how I survived. Then, when I came to America from India, I started eating health food because my husband was also eating it, due to his own health problems. The result was that I really became crippled, almost bed-ridden. I had almost no energy and was in constant pain."
None of the physicians she consulted with were able to help her, until finally she met an acupuncturist, who tested her for allergies. "He helped me to understand that my illness was due to allergies, which at first I didn't believe. I thought I had all these other diseases." The acupuncturist told her to eat only white rice and that if she did, her health would improve. "So I tried the diet and within one week I started feeling better. My pain started going away, along with my headaches and arthritis, and that gave me some hope." She lived on that diet for three and a half years, during which time she also began her medical training.
Then one day Nambudripad ate a carrot, setting the stage for her discovery of NAET. The carrot caused an immediate reaction of faintness. By then trained in acupuncture, she gave herself a treatment to keep herself from going into shock. "When I finished the treatment I found that I was much better than ever before," she recounts, "even though some of the carrot was still in my hand. Immediately I associated the electromagnetic field of the carrot being within my body's electromagnetic field and realized that somehow the acupuncture treatment had halted the reaction I was having. I was no longer allergic to carrots any more. I ate the rest of the carrot and didn't have a reaction."
Because of this experience, Nambudripad went on to treat herself for most of the other substances she discovered she was allergic to, and today they no longer trouble her. "Except for chemicals," she laughs. "They can still get me because there are so many types, and if I haven't treated a particular one, when I'm exposed to it, it can still cause a reaction. But the reactions are very mild and I can instantly get out of them."
How NAET Works
The key to how NAET works lies in its ability to retrain the patient's brain and nervous system to no longer react to the substances he or she is allergic to. This is a radically different approach than the more common method of avoiding allergy triggers for life, once they've been detected.
Part of NAET's success also lies with the body's energy pathways, or meridians, as they are known by acupuncturists. "When you are exposed to a substance you are allergic to," Nambudripad explains, "Your brain and meridian system interprets the substance, whatever it may be, as being harmful to you. For other people, the substance may be harmless, but for your system it's toxic. As a result, your nervous system freezes up in order to defend against it. This, in turn, creates blockages in the meridians. So long as the allergy remains, over time, the blockages lead to further imbalances in the way your body functions and the result is disease."
Allergies themselves, according to Nambudripad, "are a response of the immune system to foreign substances around you, or their energy fields. This response triggers different reactions at different times. For instance, one day the reaction might manifest as leg pain and the next time, like a headache. It depends upon which area of the body is the one where the energy is blocked. The offending substance creates a disturbance in the body's meridian system and that blocks the body's flow of energy, creating imbalance. Eventually symptoms show up and you get sick. Reversing that process is what I do with NAET. But first you have to know what substances the patient is actually allergic to."
NAET practitioners accomplish this through the use of Applied Kinesiology. Patients hold the suspected allergenic substance while the practitioner tests the strength of certain muscles. If an allergy exists, the muscles will exhibit weakness that improves once the patient is no longer in contact with the offending substance.
Once the allergens have been determined, the next step in NAET is to "reprogram the patient's nervous system to not react to them." Nambudripad accomplishes this by having the patients continue to hold the substance they are allergic to while she treats them with acupuncture. She claims this reprograms her patients' nervous systems to no longer react to the substances they were previously allergic to. "Because your energy pathways are unblocked while you are holding the substance during the acupuncture treatment, your body stops reacting to it. This, in turn, leads your brain to stop viewing it as harmful." Once the treatment is complete, patients are then instructed to avoid exposure to the substance for 25 to 30 hours, after which time they should no longer cause an allergic reaction.
"NAET works by reprogramming the nervous system," states Eleanor Chin, D.C. echoing Nambudripad's claims. A chiropractor with a background in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, Dr. Chin has made NAET a part of her practice for the last seven years. "The way NAET works," she says, "is that it tells the nervous system and the brain to remain open in all of their energy channels in the presence of the allergenic substance. It does this by stimulating the specific acupuncture points associated with the blockages of energy. And in conjunction with that, if there are emotional components that the brain has associated with the substance, we also clear those."
One of Dr. Chin's case histories illustrates how potent a therapy NAET can be. One of her former chiropractic patients recently came to her after suffering from excruciating lower back pain for six weeks. "The reason she didn't seek my help right away was because the pain felt like what she had experienced some years earlier when she had kidney stones," Dr. Chin explains. "At first, she went to an M.D. and he concurred that the pain was most likely kidney-related. So she went to the hospital and they did a number of procedures and nothing helped. Finally, they decided that she should come back for exploratory surgery. That's when she came to see me." Dr. Chin treated her chiropractically, "but it didn't make a whole lot of difference." Then she asked the woman what she might have done six weeks earlier before the pain occurred. "She told me that she'd had cosmetic eyelid surgery," Dr. Chin says. "This led me to suspect a possible allergic reaction to the Novocaine that was used as her anesthesia." Using muscle testing while having the woman hold an ampule of Novocaine, Dr. Chin determined that there was indeed a connection. "I used NAET to treat her for the allergic reaction to Novocaine, and later that night much of her pain had subsided. She came back in two days and after the second treatment all her pain was gone."
Not all NAET treatments bring such swift relief, however. For food allergies, Dr. Nambudripad estimates that most allergic responses will cease after 15 to 20 treatments, usually received over a period of once a week. "After that, most patients can eat a wide variety of food without reactions," she explains. "If they want to go into more detail to treat other substances they are allergic to, it may take longer. I've had many patients who only needed 10 to 12 visits and then I don't ever see them again because they are doing fine. It depends on what they are allergic to, the condition of their immune system, and their lifestyle." Overall, NAET has been shown to bring complete and permanent relief from allergies in approximately 85% of all people who receive it.
It's important to stress that the positive responses attributed to NAET have until recently been entirely anecdotal. That is changing, however. Dr. Nambudripad has completed the first in a series of projected double-blind studies showcasing NAET's efficacy in treating allergies. "It was a milk allergy study and is ready to be published," she relates, adding that further studies are planned. In the meantime, a growing number of physicians are heralding NAET's merits, and receiving training in its use.